Grant rallies Blazers past Kings 115-108 in opener

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) goes up for a shot over Sacramento Kings...
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) goes up for a shot over Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)(José Luis Villegas | AP)
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:51 PM PDT
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Jerami Grant converted a three-point play with 50.4 seconds to play to give Portland the lead and the Trail Blazers spoiled Mike Brown’s coaching debut in Sacramento with a 115-108 win over the Kings on Wednesday night.

Grant scored 23 points to lead Portland and Anfernee Simons added 22. Damian Lillard scored 20 in his first game back from an abdominal injury that had sidelined him since January.

The Kings came into the season with optimism that the hiring of Brown could help end an NBA-record 16-season playoff drought.

But they were dealt a loss in the opener despite 33 points from De’Aaron Fox and and 23 from Kevin Huerter in his Kings debut.

Terence Davis gave Sacramento a 106-104 lead when he followed a missed shot by Huerter with an emphatic dunk with 2:18 to play. But Davis was given a technical foul after the dunk and Lillard made the free throw to make it 106-105.

After a couple of empty trips on both ends, Grant gave Portland the lead for good with his driving layup and foul shot after an apparent turnover by the Blazers was wiped off because of a kicking violation on Sacramento.

Fox missed a 3 at the other end and Josh Hart added another three-point play to make it a five-point game and the Blazers held on for the win.

The Kings fell into a 14-point hole in the second quarter as they struggled offensively and kept sending Portland to the foul line. They turned it around with a 16-1 run to move back ahead and had a 55-51 lead at halftime.

The Blazers trailed by 10 midway through the third quarter before tying it in the closing seconds on a layup by Anfernee Simons.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Key offseason acquisition Gary Payton II remains sidelined by a core muscle injury. ... Portland snapped a three-game losing streak in season openers.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Host Phoenix on Friday night.